LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Kevin Daley on Wednesday introduced legislation that seeks to provide additional relief to certain community organizations and nonprofits shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As my colleagues and I continue working to provide relief to businesses affected by the pandemic, I was approached by someone from my district who suggested eliminating or prorating licensing fees as a way to help certain establishments,” said Daley, R-Lum. “These bills would provide targeted help to nonprofits like American Legions and VFW halls.”
The idea came, in part, from Mike Pergande from the American Legion Post 18 in Bay City. Pergande reached out to Daley’s office with the idea of reimbursing club liquor licenses last November after his post received their license renewal bill.
He was disappointed to see the state requesting the full annual price even though he had been forced to close and was unable to use his license for nearly half of 2020 — especially since most clubs and nonprofits rely on in-person sales for operating expenses.
“When I got the bill for the new license in the mail, I looked at it and thought, ‘This isn’t right,’” Pergande said. “Our doors were closed for half of the year. Why should we pay for a license we can’t use?”
Senate Bills 125 and 126 would help support local businesses by prorating or crediting certain state license fees for times licensees were unable to use their license as intended due to the pandemic and resulting orders.
The bills would not charge large bingo halls license fees for 2021 if applicants held a license in 2020. The bills would also prorate club liquor license fees for the time licensees were unable to offer indoor service due to orders issued through the governor or the state health department.
“I think this is the most reasonable way forward, as issuing refunds for 2020 licensees would be an arduous process,” Daley said. “I think it would be much simpler and more meaningful to cut these folks a break on their current license fees — especially with curfews and capacity limits in place that drastically limit business.”
Both bills were referred to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform.